Suresh Raina explains how important it was to beat Australia ahead of the World T20I
Suresh Raina scored the winning run and a brilliant unbeaten 49 runs off just 25 deliveries as India whitewashed Australia 3-0 in the 3-match Twenty international series. His performance was lauded by many, he strengthens the middle order of team India in the shortest format and he has proved that repeatedly now.
ICC World T20 will be taking place in India for the first time since it’s inception and the home team have already been choosen as favourite for many cricket legends. The subcontinental giants, India, outclassed Australia in Australia and became the first team in the history to whitewash the Kangaroos at home.
The Indian players knew the importance of beating Australia ahead of the World T20. Raina himself spoke about what defeating Australia meant for team India.
"It was extremely important to beat Australia in their home as they are in our pool at the [ICC] World T20,” said Raina at the closing ceremony. “Since we beat them 2-0, we are now the No. 1 T20 team. It showed that we prepared well."
India cameback strongly after they lost the 5-match one-day international series by 4-1 and won the T20 series. Youngsters like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah outperformed many senior players and straight away gave a strong message to the selectors.
Commenting on the performance of the new young players in the team, Raina said: “Youngsters showed real character in Australia, especially considering it was their first tour. It is not easy for youngsters to tour Australia as their first series.”
In the final T20I at Sydney, India needed 17 runs off last 6 balls, Yuvraj Singh smashed 6 and 4 off consecutive deliveries to ease off pressure and gave the strike to Raina, who won it from there for India. Yuvraj and Raina made 53 runs for fourth wicket partnership.
Speaking about his crucial partnership with Yuvraj, Raina said: "I have learnt a lot of good things from Yuvi pa. He took the pressure off with a four and a six. After I got a couple, he said he believed I will finish it off. So I, Yuvraj and Dhoni in the middle-order have the experience required."
Earlier today, Indian Premier League’s new franchise - Rajkot - named Raina their team captain for the upcoming season. Former Chennai Super Kings’ player, Raina, always used to bat at no.3 position but in Australia, we saw him batting down the order because in-form Virat Kohli looked set at that position.
When asked if he’ll shuffle his batting position in the upcoming World T20 because of Kohli, he replied that he doesn't mind.
“I have always played at No. 3 in the IPL. We will plan and execute for World T20 accordingly. Top-order is very important in T20 as it helps you plan and execute your targets,” he said.
"IPL brings more pressure because players are paid by franchises, but all innings are important whether you play for club, state or country."
Raina joked and referred to his marriage when he was asked how difficult and important was it for him to make an India comeback in T20 format. He said: "I am married now and have to look after my wife."